Our We Try Before You Buy series aims to take the stress out of shopping and eliminate the number of post office visits you make each month to return failed online orders. We test new-season buys and styling ideas so you don’t have to.
As soon as spring officially begins, there is a new sense of optimism in the air, and most importantly, a reason for us to celebrate dressing up again. Gone are the chunky knits and functional layers of winter, and (for now) we’re shelving the reliably dark colour palette we rely on in the coldest months, now is the time to make the most of spring, and with plenty of weddings, parties and events back on the agenda, dresses are the joyful item we’re certain will end our hibernation phase.
Our We Try Before You Buy series gives us the opportunity to try on all of the season’s new items to give a closer look at the pieces that we truly love and why they’re worth every penny. So, as your social calendar fills and you start planning your warm-weather looks, what better time to focus on spring dresses for every style? Whether you’re a refined minimalist, floral dress loyalist, chic and understated, or a vibrant maximalist, we’ve found a dress that you’re guaranteed to love. And, just to make it that much easier, not only has each of our editors found a dress that stands out from the crowd, but we’ve also thought of how to style each one for both day and night, so you can get an even better idea of each dresses versatility. Sound good? Keep scrolling for 7 of our favourite spring dresses and how we’re wearing them now. You won’t regret it.
THE REFORMATION LINEN DRESS
“As soon as the sunshine appears, I can’t wait to get all of my linen pieces out of my wardrobe. This year, I had my eyes on Reformation’s Layton dress to add into my collection. Strapless dresses feel fresh again, and I like how the formal silhouette still feels casual enough for daytime wear thanks to the sand-hued linen. I paired it with a trench coat, black heeled sandals and a carry-everything tote bag for the days for when you’re running errands and the sun is shining, but the chilly wind still persists. ” Eleanor Vousden, Beauty Editor
“To bring the dress into the evening, I shrugged off the trench coat to make the dress the main event and showcase it’s ’90s shape. The long-line of the dress requires a high heel, so I swapped in some strappy Zara sandals that would peek out at the bottom to elevate the dress into the evening. To finish, I threw my trusty Charles & Keith Gabine bag over my shoulder, let my hair down and popped in my go-to Missoma gold hoop earrings to finish off the look.”
“From the moment the first Anthurium appeared on the Loewe runway, I was hooked, and as someone who you’re not likely to find in a ditsy print dress, I consider this my take on floral dresses. Bold, graphic, and punchy, this dress is actually quite simple in construct, but it packs a maximum punch thanks to that unmistakable burst of red. In order to let the focal point do the talking I kept my first look simple with slides and a bucket bag for an easy, daytime look. Although my exact bag sold out a while ago, I’ve been thinking about the Bottega Casette Bucket ever since, and it might have to be my next big investment…” Remy Farrell, Shopping Editor
“To make the look evening-ready, there’s nothing quite like a statement shoe, and this Charles and Keith wedge delivers in spades. It might not look it, but they’re easily the most comfortable heels I own, and I prefer the silhouette (and wear) to a skinny, stiletto heel. A little bit of sparkle always helps to bring a look to life, and I love the contrast between this lady-like embellished bag and my oversized, vintage leather biker, but while you’re in Zara looking for this particular piece, take a look at their biker jacket selection right now. There’s a style for just about everyone, from oversized, masculine fits, to cropped and petite.”
“These days, I really need my dresses to be versatile, and Doen is one of my favourite dress brands for this exact reason. Their beautiful midi styles are statement enough to wow at a dressier event like a wedding, but pair them with a strappy flat sandal and a basket bag like this, and suddenly they look like they were made to be worn on a beach. Sadly I don’t live right on the Med or a Caribbean island, but I still think this low-key look is city-ready too, and a perfect heatwave appropriate work dress.” Emily Dawes, Affiliate Editor
“Switching out the flats for heeled sandals and the basket for a dressier bag is all this dress really needs to take it from beachwear to event ready. I plan on wearing it to lots of weddings this year—the light fabric means it will still work in the height of summer, but the longer sleeves extend its lifeline from spring into late summer too. I switched beach-ier shell jewellery out for layered gold styles and some hoops to finish off the look.”
“As soon as I saw this GANNI mini dress, I knew it would be super versatile; a perfect fit for any occasion. I love easy dressing, so was sold on the snap button closure and easy length. I’ve also been absolutely obsessed with all things pistachio green lately, so I had to pair it with my Coach Pillow Tabby and denim jacket for a more casual, everyday feel. To finish the look I added one of my favourite pairs of Clarks Wallabees–the off white camo goes with everything, and no spring outfit is complete with a pair.” Jerrylyn Saguiped, Affiliates Manager
“While no-sleeves works well as we’re transitioning into warmer weather, I loved being able to dress it up with a long-sleeved, sheer blouse from Zara. The details on this top were everything, and the beaded appliqué embroidery really elevated the the look. If you can’t already tell, I have a soft spot for tiny bags, and so I chose to wear my Super Mini Gucci Marmont, and switched my Wallabees for mules. These ones from ASOS are so comfortable, making them an ideal choice to wear for any party or night out.”
THE CHRISTOPHER ESBER CUT-OUT DRESS
“When Shania Twain wrote the song Man! I Feel Like a Woman! I’m sure she was wearing a Christopher Esber dress. The designer creates a silhouette that hugs, celebrates and flatters the form like no other. This particular piece, with its cleverly cut-out panels and stretchy yet ‘tight enough to keep your tits up’ fabric is frankly a gift to anyone with a curvaceous figure and bigger boobs. I always thought underboob was best kept to Love Island reality stars and accidents when emerging from the pool after a belly flop, but this dress actually made me consider if there was a world where the subtle flash of the lower breast could be wedding appropriate (sadly, I think the answer is still no). In short, these dresses make you look, and most importantly, feel good.
For my casual ensemble, I paid homage to my peak MySpace era by wearing it with this amazing All Saints oversized leather jacket and my most-loved clogs (these exact Zara ones are sold out, but the Marge Sherwood below are almost better). When we were shooting, an onlooker commented that I like a “sexy Hell’s Angel.” Consider my life made.” Rebecca Rhys-Evans, Branded Content Editor
“Esber’s pieces are known for their natural stone details and U-shape hardware. I wanted to draw attention to these in my evening look by using minimal accessories that matched their silver hue. The Staud crystal bag isn’t my most practical handbag purchase, but it is one of my favourites–summer weddings, Christmas parties–whatever the season, it will work. And as for the shoes, everyone knows my undying love for these Gucci sling-backs (if you don’t, read my ode to them), and my lipstick is the shade Cardinal from the now-iconic Isamaya Colour Infusion series.”
THE FREE PEOPLE MAXI DRESS
“I’m very much a long-sleeved midi/maxi dress kind of gal, so this unique shirt dress from Free People caught my eye immediately. From the button details to the belt tie (which gives the dress shape at the waist), the dress has a lot to offer. I love adding elements of denim into my daytime looks so I decided to throw on a denim shacket to keep things laid back, and I opted for lighter footwear in the form of sandals to balance out the look. The weather is getting warmer, so why not!” Remi Afolabi, Video Editor
“I would usually save a dress like this for the daytime but there are definitely ways to make it work for a casual evening out. I kept things simple by opting for some slick black knee high boots and a baguette bag.”
THE AJE PUFF SLEEVED DRESS
“I immediately fell in love with this Aje dress from Hurr Collective, and what first grabbed my attention was the colour. I’ve been interested in the green aesthetic for a while, and the detailing around the waist and buttons on the back are beautiful touches that show of the quality of the dress. And the best part? It’s got pockets! Which automatically makes it a real winner for me. During the day, I paired it with my favourite pair of Onitsuka Tiger trainers, which I wear non-stop, and an easy tote bag. To finish off my outfit, I threw on my Dior sunglasses that I got in a sample sale. They tie everything together nicely by co-ordinating the bag and the black in the shoes.” Sophie Cookson, Insights Manager
“To elevate the outfit for the evening, I switched the tote for a Jacquemus that holds only the essentials, I love the way the pink pops against the green. It’s funny, I normally gravitate to dark outfits, but as soon as the sun is shining I love to wear as many colours and prints as possible. I swapped my trainers for these silver platforms from New Look. I like how they compliment the outfit in a subtle way, even though they are metallic. The platform heel makes them so comfortable that I can spend all evening in them.”
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